What Types of Volcanoes Are on the Hawaiian Islands?

types-volcanoes-hawaiian-islands Credit: Andrew Hara / Contributor/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Hawaiian Islands contain two main types of volcanoes: shield volcanoes, which have formed the bulk of the islands, and cinder cones, which are smaller in size. Several volcanoes fall into the subclass of cinder cone volcanoes known as tuff cone volcanoes.

Shield volcanoes are characterised by broad bases with gentle slopes. Their shape comes from the very fluid lava that they excrete. Muana Loa on the big island of Hawaii is the primary example of an active shield volcano. It is over 28,000 feet tall from its base on the ocean floor to its peak. Kiluea, which is also located on the big island of Hawaii, is also a shield volcano. Shield volcanoes are responsible for forming the majority of the mass of the Hawaiian Islands.

Cinder cone volcanoes have steeper sides and are made from fragments of lava. They are often located on the bases of larger shield volcanoes. There are several cinder cones on Mauna Kea and Waianae. Diamond Head and Koko Crater are considered tuff cones because of their large crater to rim size ratios. This structure is caused by a very rapid explosion, which pushes lava and lava fragments violently away from the center of the volcano.